By Daniel Hunter

Failure to win the general election could prove quite costly for the party leaders, with small businesses describing them as "unemployable".

More than a quarter of small business owners said they would not hire any of the political party leaders if they applied for a position in their company, according to new Crunch Accounting.

The poll of British freelancers and micro-businesses asked which party leader, if any, they would offer a job to. The resounding response was none, with 27% of business owners saying they wouldn’t choose to employ any of the candidates.

Among those who would give the political leaders a chance, 22% said they would hire David Cameron and 13% Ed Miliband. Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon narrowly took third place with 12%, while Nick Clegg would be offered a position by just 11% of those surveyed.

Small business owners and freelancers had even less faith in the remaining candidates. Fewer than one in 10 said they would offer Nigel Farage a job, while just 4% would employ the Green Party’s Natalie Bennett and 2% chose Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru.

The survey also asked business decision makes which party best understands the needs of SMEs and the self-employed. The Conservatives took the lead with a third of votes (32%), while Labour took a quarter (25%). Around a fifth (18%) felt none of the parties understood their needs, while one in 10 said the Liberal Democrats had their best interests at heart.

Despite Nigel Farage calling UKIP the party of small business, just 8% of those surveyed said his party represented their interests. The SNP earned just 2% of SME votes, despite 12% of business owners giving the thumbs up to Nicola Sturgeon as a potential employee.

Darren Fell, managing director of Crunch Accounting, said: “With the election just a few days away, politicians would do well to take notice of these results. Whether they’re up to the job or not, they are clearly not coming across as credible to the small business and freelance community and that should be of huge concern to them."